Abkhazia

#Georgia: Sharing books by leaving them at public places goes viral

მოხეტიალე წიგნები (Strolling Books) – A Facebook page has been set up in Georgia to give out books for free. The idea went viral and in three days the page got almost 30,000 likes.

According to the page, any person may leave a book at public place, add a message a date and a place. The next person who’ll find and read the book should also add a date and place when and where found; later leave it at a park, in a cafe or somewhere else. The books are about everything and for everybody.

fb.com/moxetiale.cignebi

fb.com/moxetiale.cignebi

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Google Voice lists Abkhazia as Russia

Whenever you’re abroad for a long time you look for different ways to contact your family every once in a while (Skype, landline, etc.). A Georgian friend of mine who lives in Bulgaria wanted to call home and he decided to use Google Voice (A telecommunication service from Google). But before doing so he checked call rates. By doing this he suddenly discovered that Google Voice lists Abkhazia as one of the rates for calling Russia.Google_Voice_Russia_Abkhazia

In addition to this strange fact it turns out that the fee for Abkhazia is the highest in the list. I decided to write Google Voice and ask them why do they list Abkhazia as an option for Russia. I am waiting for their answer and as soon as they reply I’ll post it here.

Google_Voice_Russia_Abkhazia_2

Freedom House lists Abkhazia and South Ossetia as separate countries

Freedom House, Washington D.C. based democracy and human rights advocate has recently released its Freedom of Press in 2012 Findings. The report highlights key developments in global press freedom over the last year, including improvements in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and crackdowns in authoritarian states. The annual report includes findings in 197 countries and territories.

Media in Georgia, according to the report is partly free and out of all the countries it’s on 111st place, which makes it a leader in the region (Turkey is 117th, Armenia 149th, Azerbaijan and Russia 172nd).

Freedom House website gives separate findings and articles about each state. Interestingly, under the list of countries in Central and Eastern Europe/Eurasia Georgia’s breakaway regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia (Along with Nagorno-Karabakh and Transnistria) are listed as separate countries.

Abkhazia and South Ossetia are Georgia’s disputed regions that are recognized independent by Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Nauru, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, the rest of the world considers it as a part of Georgia. With more than 200,000 IDPs, the conflict is still unresolved and Georgia officially refers to these regions as “Occupied Territories”.

Abkhazia Presidential Candidate Sergei Shamba Goes Online

Three candidates are competing this week for a presidential post in the breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia. The Central Election Commission predicts 70% turnout on the ballot that will be held on August 26, 2011. According to BBC:

At least 130,000 people were registered to vote but, our correspondent says, an estimated 40,000 ethnic Georgians living in the region were mostly prevented from voting because they do not have Abkhaz passports.

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First, they came for… someone!

Originally posted on the author’s blog.

By Giorgi Kikonishvili

“First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

This is the story of how a pastor Martin Niemoller,  Hitler’s ex-supporter was left alone in front of the destructive power of the Fuhrer, just because he didn’t fought against the unfairness at the right time, due to the personal careerist or non-careerist interests. He didn’t meddle in!

Almost twenty years ago over 300,000 people were forced to leave their homes and to go, well, anywhere, on the another part of Georgia. On they road, part of the people were victims of other Georgians, who were expecting some “profit” from the IDP’s “wealth”. some of the IDPs became victims of unbearable weather conditions and mostly of the starvation. People, who at least more or less peacefully arrived alive at other cities, were housed in the old buildings, mostly in the inhuman conditions. During the twenty years some of them managed to adopt new life conditions, they even got new jobs, began business activities. Unfortunately many IDPs were dead due to the psychical and psychological traumas provoked by the war. For the last twenty years tens of thousand our civilians, living near us, were absolutely ignored, as if they didn’t live. Their trouble was NOT considered as ours, as well. We were ready to held tens of drinking parties, to drink those hypocritical toasts about our “beautiful country and people”, whereas the IDPs, living in our neighborhood might have the ability to either buy a brad, or not.

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Georgia: Blogger action in support of evicted IDPs

Also posted on Global Voices

By Mirian Jugheli

Four months ago, on 11 October 2010, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who fled the wars over the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia began to protest government indifference towards them. Tented in the yard of the Ministry of IDPs from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia, several IDPs have been demanding that the government halt evictions, which have so far seen over 80 families removed from temporary accommodation, and to provide them with proper housing.

However, not a single official has come to talk to them about these issues and their concerns that alternative accommodation offered by the government is located in villages isolated from regional centers and which lack proper schools and hospitals. Online publications such as EurasiaNet have already reported about conditions in such locations, noting that the new housing often lacks windows and basic amenities such as water, electricity and gas.

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Internet Censorship in Abkhazia?

Starting from January 28, 2011 Abkhazians who use internet service provided by A-Mobile are not able to access the website of Abkhazia’s Economic Development Party (ERA). Journalist Akhra Smyr writes on his blog that he is a customer of A-Mobile and he cannot open the party’s website. According to Smyr, possible reason of this action may be the fact that an independent Abaza TV broadcasts its stories on the ERA’s website.

Screenshot saying that Google Chrome cannot open the website. From Akhra Smyr's personal blog http://akhrensky.livejournal.com/87385.html

ERA has posted an official announcement on it’s website:

Оператор сотовой связи «А-Мобайл» заблокировал своим  абонентам доступ на сайт партии ЭРА http://www.era-abbkhazia.org. Проведенный редакцией сайта мониторинг показал, что ни один абонент сотовой компании «А-Мобайл» не может посетить сайт.

Редакция официального сайта Партии ЭРА

“Cellular operator A-Mobile has blocked its customers from access to the site of the party ERA www.era-abbkhazia.org. Editorial team of the ERA Conducted a monitoring which showed that none of  A-Mobile’s customer is able to visit the website.

- Editors of the official website of the ERA”